This rare German silent educational film, released during the 1930s by Hitler's Third Reich, shows the World War I career of Field Marshall von Hindenburg as well as the elaborate funeral (presided over by Hitler) following his death in 1934. The production of the film likely served two purposes for the Nazi state, in that #1 it celebrated the nation's military past and #2 it lionized the very person who aided Hitler in his 1933 consolidation of power known as the Machtergreifung.
Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg, known universally as Paul von Hindenburg (2 October 1847 – 2 August 1934) was a Prussian-German field marshal, statesman, and politician, and served as the second President of Germany (1925–34).
Hindenburg retired from the army for the first time in 1911, but was recalled shortly after the outbreak of World War I in 1914 and first came to national attention at the age of 66, as the victor of the decisive Battle of Tannenberg in August 1914. As Germany's Chief of the General Staff from 1916 (having replaced Erich von Falkenhayn on August 29), he and his deputy, Erich Ludendorff, rose greatly in the German public's esteem. He and Ludendorff would then lead Germany in a de facto military dictatorship throughout the war, marginalizing the German Emperor as well as the Reichstag. During the war in line with Lebensraum program he advocated wide sweeping annexations in Poland, Ukraine and Russia to Germanize these territories.
Hindenburg retired again in 1919, but returned to public life in 1925 to be elected as the second President of Germany. Hindenburg, as German President, appointed Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of Germany. Hindenburg personally despised Hitler, condescendingly referring to him as that "Bohemian corporal", confusing (deliberately or not) Hitler's birthplace of Braunau, Austria, with Braunau in Bohemia. Hitler repeatedly and forcefully pressured Hindenburg to appoint him as Chancellor; Hindenburg repeatedly refused Hitler's demand. Though 84 years old and in poor health, Hindenburg was persuaded to run for reelection in 1932, as he was considered the only candidate who could defeat Hitler. Hindenburg was reelected in a runoff. Although he opposed Hitler, he played an important role in the Nazi Party's rise to power, due to the increasing political instability in the Weimar Republic. He dissolved the parliament twice in 1932 and finally appointed Hitler Chancellor in January 1933. In February, he issued the Reichstag Fire Decree, which suspended various civil liberties, and in March he signed the Enabling Act, which gave Hitler's administration legislative powers. Hindenburg died the following year, after which Hitler declared the office of President vacant and, as "Führer und Reichskanzler", made himself head of state.
The famed zeppelin Hindenburg that was destroyed by fire in 1937 was named in his honor, as was the Hindenburgdamm, a causeway joining the island of Sylt to mainland Schleswig-Holstein that was built during his time in office. The previously German Upper Silesian town of Zabrze (German: Hindenburg O.S.) was also renamed after him in 1915, as well as the SMS Hindenburg, a battlecruiser commissioned in the Imperial German Navy in 1917 and the last capital ship to enter service in the Imperial Navy.
This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD and 2k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com